Local 797, IAFF and Lewiston-Auburn 9-1-1 Committee, Nos. 83-UC-06 and 83-E-01,
Affirmed in part, reversed in part, 83-A-03 (MLRB Dec. 5, 1983)

 STATE OF MAINE                                       MAINE LABOR RELATIONS BOARD
                                                      [Nos. 83-UC-06 and 83-E-01]
   and                       )                 UNIT CLARIFICATION REPORT
 LEWISTON-AUBURN 9-1-1       )
 COMMITTEE                   )
      This is a unit clarification proceeding, initiated on September 24, 1982
 when Local 797 of the International Association of Firefighters (Local 797)
 filed a petition for unit clarification pursuant to 26 M.R.S.A. Section 966(3)
 and a petition for an election pursuant to 26 M.R.S.A. Section 967(2).  A hear-
 ing on the petitions was held on October 21, 1982 in Augusta, Maine.  Local 797 was
 represented by Peter M. Garcia, Esq., and the Lewiston-Auburn 9-1-1 Committee
 (Committee) was represented by G. Curtis Webber, Esq.
      Local 797 seeks by its unit clarification petition inclusion of four dis-
 patchers employed by the Committee in an existing bargaining unit composed of
 the members of the Auburn Fire Department.  In the alternative, if it is deter-
 mined that the dispatchers should not be included in the existing unit, Local 797
 seeks an election for a bargaining unit composed of the four dispatchers.  The
 Committee opposes the petitions on the ground that the dispatchers do not share a
 clear and identifiable community of interest with the members of the bargaining
 unit, and urges that the only appropriate unit is all twelve dispatchers employed
 by the Committee.
      Local 797 presented the following witnesses:

      Clifton S. Smith                 Chief, Auburn Fire Department
      David P. Biron                   Dispatcher, 9-1-1 Committee
      Paul J. Blanchard                Past President, Local 797
      Wayne Werts                      Current President, Local 797
      Presented as witnesses by the Committee were:

      Clifton S. Smith                 Chief, Auburn Fire Department
      Gilles M. Lessard                Supervisor, 9-1-1 Committee


 The following documents were admitted into the record as exhibits:  

      Firefighters Exhibit No. 1       The 1980-82 collective bargaining 
                                       agreement between Local 797 and the 
                                       City of Auburn      

      Firefighters Exhibit No. 2       Pay stubs of 4 of the 9-1-1 Committee 

      Committee Exhibit No. 1          Agreement between the Cities of Lewis-
                                       ton and Auburn creating the 9-1-1 

      Committee Exhibit No. 2          Organizational chart for the 9-1-1 
                                       Committee and job descriptions of        
                                       the 9-1-1 Supervisor and Dispatchers

      Committee Exhibit No. 3          Job requirements of the 9-1-1 Dis- 
      Local 797 is a public employee organization within the meaning of 26 M.R.S.A.
 Section 967(1).  The Lewiston-Auburn 9-1-1 Committee, an administrative agency of
 the Cities of Lewiston and Auburn, is a public employer as defined in 26 M.R.S.A.
 Section 962(7).  The jurisdiction of the hearing examiner to hear this case and
 rule on the petition for unit clarification lies in 26 M.R.S.A. Section 966(1).
                               FINDINGS OF FACT
      Upon review of the entire record, the hearing examiner finds:
      1.  Prior to the summer of 1979, the dispatchers for the Auburn Fire Depart-
 ment were uniformed firefighters who worked at the Central Fire Station in Auburn.
 These dispatchers were members of the Auburn firefighters bargaining unit repre-
 sented by Local 797.
      2.  In April, 1978, the Cities of Lewiston and Auburn entered into an agreement
 which created an administrative agency of both cities called the "Lewiston-Auburn
 9-1-1 Committee."  The purpose of the Committee is to establish, operate, and main-
 tain a 9-1-1 emergency reporting communications system for the Lewiston-Auburn
 area.  The Committee is administered by a board of seven members, including the
 Police and Fire Chiefs of both Lewiston and Auburn.  The Committee makes an annual


 report to and submits its budget to both Cities, each of which pays 50% of the Com-
 mittee's expenses.
      3.  In June, 1979 the City of Auburn hired four civilian dispatchers to work
 at the 9-1-1 center which is in the Lewiston Central Fire Station.  The City of
 Lewiston assigned four of its firefighters to be 9-1-1 dispatchers, and these four
 dispatchers have remained in the Lewiston firefighters bargaining unit.  In addi-
 tion, four medical dispatchers were hired to work in the 9-1-1 center, and these
 dispatchers apparently are not in any bargaining unit.  A 9-1-1 supervisor also
 was hired to supervise the operation of the 9-1-1 center.
      4.  Unlike all Auburn firefighters, the new Auburn dispatchers were not hired
 through the Auburn civil service system, and they were not required to take the
 written and physical tests which applicants for Auburn firefighter positions have
 to pass.  The new Auburn dispatchers were trained by the Auburn firefighter dis-
 patchers at the Auburn Fire Station for several months, after which time the new
 dispatchers moved to the 9-1-1 center at the Lewiston Fire Station while the fire-
 fighter dispatchers apparently returned to their firefighting positions.
      5.  All twelve dispatchers take and route calls for the Fire Departments,
 Police Departments and ambulance services in Lewiston and Auburn.  One Auburn dis-
 patcher, one Lewiston dispatcher and one medical dispatcher usually are on duty
 at any given time at the 9-1-1 center.  The Auburn dispatcher will pass calls
 from Lewiston on to the Lewiston dispatcher if he/she is available and will pass
 all medical calls on to the medical dispatcher if he is available.  In the event
 that the appropriate dispatcher is unavailable, then the Auburn dispatcher will
 handle the call himself.  All Auburn calls similarly are passed on to the Auburn
 dispatcher on duty if he/she is available.  The Auburn dispatchers route all
 police calls to the dispatchers at the Auburn Police Department, who then handle
 the call.  As for fire calls, however, the Auburn dispatchers actually dispatch the
 firefighters and the equipment necessary to handle the situation.  This of course
 requires that the dispatchers be extremely familiar with Fire Department standard
 operating procedure, with the capabilities of the various pieces of Fire Depart-
 ment equipment and apparatus, and with the streets and the buildings in Auburn.
 The dispatchers' role of dispatching fire calls makes them an important part of
 the firefighting team in Auburn.  The Auburn dispatchers also dispatch Lewiston
 fire calls when the Lewiston dispatcher is unavailable, which of course requires
 that they be familiar with Lewiston fire equipment as well as the geography of


 Lewiston.  The Auburn dispatchers also dispatch medical calls when the medical
 dispatcher is not available.
      6.  The Auburn dispatchers are paid by the City of Auburn, and they pick their
 paychecks up at the Auburn Fire Station.  The Auburn dispatchers are under the super-
 vision of and are disciplined by both the 9-1-1 supervisor and the Auburn Fire
 Chief.  The Auburn dispatchers are paid approximately $229.00 a week, while a pri-
 vate in the Auburn Fire Department with comparable seniority currently makes
 about $253.00 per week.  Both the Auburn dispatchers and the firefighters average
 a 42-hour workweek, although the firefighters work shifts during four consecutive
 days and nights followed by four days off, while the dispatchers, due to the high
 stress associated with their job, work only two consecutive days or nights before
 having two days off.
      7.  In April, 1980, Local 797 and the City of Auburn entered into a collective
 bargaining agreement with a term of April 1, 1980 to March 31, 1982.  The recognition
 clause of this agreement expressly excludes the 9-1-1 civilian dispatchers from
 the firefighters' bargaining unit.  However, in a "sideletter" attached to the agree-
 ment the parties provided that the contract could be reopened "for the purpose of
 including Dispatchers in the current contract" subject to the condition, among
 others, that the dispatchers "must be included in the bargaining unit as certified
 by the Maine Labor Relations Board."  Local 797 agreed to the recognition clause
 because it was not certain at the time as to what the 9-1-1 dispatchers working
 conditions were going to be.  The City was opposed to including the dispatchers in
 the bargaining unit.  A successor agreement was executed by the parties in April,
 1982, and the recognition clause of this agreement likewise expressly excludes
 the civilian dispatchers from the bargaining unit.  Although a "sideletter" also
 is attached to this agreement, it makes no reference to the possibility of includ-
 ing the dispatchers in the unit.
      At issue is the question whether the four Auburn dispatchers at the 9-1-1
 center should be included in the Auburn firefighters' bargaining unit.  After care-
 fully considering the facts, the hearing examiner concludes that the dispatchers
 should not be included in the unit because they do not share a sufficient community
 of interest with the firefighters and because clarification of the unit would be

 contrary to the traditional criteria used for clarifying bargaining units.  The
 hearing examiner accordingly will deny Local 797's unit clarification petition.
 Since the hearing examiner also cannot determine whether a unit composed only
 of the Auburn dispatchers would be appropriate, the petition for election will
 be dismissed.
      It is undoubtedly true, as Local 797 contends, that the 9-1-1 dispatchers
 play a very important role in the providing of fire fighting services for the
 City of Auburn; the dispatchers have the initial and often critical responsibility
 of insuring that the right equipment gets to the right place as fast as possible
 when a fire occurs.  Although the Auburn 9-1-1 dispatchers clearly are more in-
 timately involved with the operation of the Auburn Fire Department than with any
 of the other departments under the 9-1-1 system, it bears noting that the dis-
 patchers also handle fire calls from Lewiston as well as police and emergency
 medical calls from both Lewiston and Auburn.  Their responsibilities therefore are
 far broader than merely dispatching Auburn Fire Department calls.
      It is also true that prior to the advent of the 9-1-1 system the Auburn dis-
 patchers were included in the Auburn firefighters bargaining unit.  These dispat-
 chers were Auburn firefighters, however, who worked in the Auburn Central Fire
 Station.  In contrast, the present dispatchers are civilians working out of the
 central fire station in Lewiston with significantly greater responsibilities
 than the previous firefighter dispatchers.  It has of course been the Labor Rela-
 tion Board's practice to exclude, on community of interest grounds, civilian dis-
 patchers from bargaining units of uniformed personnel.  See, e.g., AFSCME, Pine
 Tree Council No. 74 and City of Brewer, MLRB No. 79-A-01 (Oct. 12, 1979). Finally,
 Local 797 correctly notes that the Lewiston 9-1-1 dispatchers are included in the
 Lewiston firefighters bargaining unit.  Again, however, the Lewiston dispatchers are
 Lewiston firefighters who have been assigned to the 9-1-1 system, and it seems likely
 that these dispatchers continue to share a clear and identifiable community of in-
 terest with the Lewiston firefighters.
      The traditional criteria examined in determining community of interest
 questions are set forth in the AFSCME, Pine Tree Council No. 74 case,

 supra.[fn]1  As Local 797 contends, there are some similarities in the work performed
 by the dispatchers and the firefighters - for example, the dispatchers are in part
 engaged in Fire Department work, are supervised in part by the Auburn Fire Chief,
 and are paid by the City of Auburn.  In examining the entire record, however, the
 hearing examiner believes that the differences far outweigh the similarities.
 First, as previously noted, the dispatchers are civilians while the firefighters
 are uniformed personnel, which means that the qualifications, skills and training
 of the two groups of employees are different.  Second, the two groups have different
 employers - the dispatchers are employed by the Committee while the firefighters
 are employed by Auburn.  Finally, the dispatchers are subject to the day-to-day
 supervision of the 9-1-1 supervisor, the pay scale for the two groups of employees
 is different, the employees work in different locations, and, in the opinion of the
 hearing examiner, there is little contact or interchange between the two groups.
 All of these factors taken together establish, in the hearing examiner's judgment,
 that the dispatchers do not share a clear and identifiable community of interest
 with the firefighters and that the two groups should not be included in the same
 bargaining unit.  See, e.g., AFSCME, Pine Tree Council No. 74, supra; City of Bath
 and Local 1828, Council 74, AFSCME, MLRB No. 81-A-01 (Dec. 15, 1980).
      Moreover, even if the two groups did share a clear and identifiable community
 of interest, the propriety of clarifying the existing unit would be highly question-
 able in light of the language of Rule 1.13 of the Labor Relation Board's Rules and
            "Unit clarification petitions may be denied if (a) the description
             of the job categories contained in the bargaining unit is clear and
             unequivocal, (b) the question raised should be properly settled through
             the election process, or (c) the petition attempts to modify the com-
             position of the bargaining unit as negotiated by the parties and the
             alleged changes therein have been made prior to negotiations on the
             collective bargaining agreement presently in force."
 1/   These criteria include such factors as:
   		"(1) similarity in the kind of work performed; (2) common supervision and
         determination of labor-relations policy; (3) similarity in the scale and
         manner of determining earnings; (4) similarity in employment benefits,
         hours of work and other terms and conditions of employment; (5) similarity
         in the qualifications, skills and training of employees; (6) frequency of
         contact or interchange among the employees; (7) geographical proximity;
         (8) history of collective bargaining; (9) desires of the affected employees;
         (10) extent of union organization; and (11) the public employer's organiza-
         tional structures."
      AFSCME, Pine Tree Council No. 74 at 3-4.

 While all three of these reasons for denying a unit clarification petition may be
 present in this case, reason (c) plainly is applicable.  The facts are that two
 collective bargaining agreements have been negotiated since the 9-1-1 system was
 implemented, and both agreements expressly excluded the 9-1-1 dispatchers from the
 bargaining unit.  While the sideletter attached to the 1980-82 agreement left open
 the possibility of including the dispatchers in the unit, the current agreement
 makes no such provision.  Since the parties clearly have negotiated a bargaining
 unit which excludes the 9-1-1 dispatchers, the hearing examiner could not properly
 change the negotiated agreement by ordering that the dispatchers be included in
 the unit.
      The only remaining question is whether a bargaining unit composed solely of
 the four Auburn 9-1-1 dispatchers is appropriate for purposes of collective bargain-
 ing within the meaning of 26 M.R.S.A. Section 966.  Local 797 has filed a petition
 for election for such a bargaining unit, in the event that it was decided that the
 four dispatchers should not be included in the firefighters' unit.  On the basis
 of the record before him, the hearing examiner must conclude that a unit of four
 dispatchers would not be appropriate.  This is because there apparently are four
 medical dispatchers employed at the 9-1-1 center, and the appropriate unit would
 appear to be one composed of all eight 9-1-1 dispatchers presently not represented
 (the four Lewiston 9-1-1 dispatchers being already included in the Lewiston fire-
 fighters' bargaining unit).  On the other hand, it is possible that a good reason
 exists why the medical 9-1-1 dispatchers should not be included in a unit with the
 Auburn 9-1-1 dispatchers.  Since the record contains no evidence at all with regard
 to the medical dispatchers, the hearing examiner is unable to determine whether a
 bargaining unit of just the Auburn dispatchers or a unit of all the unrepresented
 dispatchers is appropriate.  Local 797's petition for an election in a bargaining
 unit of the Auburn 9-1-1 dispatchers accordingly must be dismissed.  Such dismissal
 of course does not prejudice the right of Local 797 or any other labor organiza-
 tion to file a unit determination petition for a bargaining unit of 9-1-1 dispatchers,
 at which time evidence can be offered as to the appropriate bargaining unit.
      On the basis of the foregoing findings of fact and discussion, and by virtue
 of and pursuant to the powers granted by 26 M.R.S.A. Section 966, it is ORDERED

 that Local 797's unit clarification petition is denied and its election petition
 is dismissed.
 Dated at Augusta, Maine this 12th day of November, 1982.
                                            MAINE LABOR RELATIONS BOARD
                                            Wayne W. Whitney, Jr.
                                            Hearing Examiner

      The parties are advised of their right pursuant to 26 M.R.S.A. Section 968(4)
 to appeal this report to the full Labor Relations Board, by filing a notice of
 appeal with the Board within 15 days of receipt of the report.